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Pinellas Park considers creating budget unit

A new Office of Management and Budget likely would focus on quality and productivity, not just fiscal data.

By ANNE LINDBERG

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 31, 2000


PINELLAS PARK -- City Manager Jerry Mudd wants to expand the city government by adding a new department to oversee budget, productivity and "quality initiatives."

Heading up the Office of Management and Budget likely would be Dan Katsiyiannis, the city's internal auditor, who would receive a raise of about $5,000 a year. That would increase his salary about 9 percent from the current $53,394 a year.

City officials would also create a new assistant's position to help the new department head. It's unclear how much that person would be paid.

Although the new city department looks to be a done deal, at least one detail needs to be worked out before City Council members vote on the matter at their first meeting in June. Pinellas Park council member Chuck Williams, himself a federal auditor, wants the head of the Office of Management and Budget to report to the council rather than to Mudd or any other employee.

"Usually an auditor should be independent and should not be under his leader," Williams said Tuesday. "That's the norm in the industry."

Williams said he had no problem with Katsiyiannis reporting to Mudd or Finance Department director Dick Wheaton while in his capacity as internal auditor. But when he moves to overseeing the budget, which is prepared by Wheaton and Mudd, the situation will change.

"It seems to me like he's being asked to be more than (internal auditor)," Williams said. "I need to know what his duties are. That would help me make my decision. They weren't spelled out at all in the proposal."

Williams said he would research the issue more before the vote.

At least one other council member is completely enthusiastic about the changes.

"I love it," Ed Taylor said. "It's definitely a step into the next century on how organizations are structured."

The best part of the change, Taylor said, will be the effect on the budget.

"It's no longer reacting to things; we'll be acting on things," he said. "The budget will be created every single day. . . . It's just incredible."

Katsiyiannis, 42, has worked as Pinellas Park's internal auditor since Jan. 10. As internal auditor, he makes sure that all franchise fees that are owed to the city are paid. A franchise fee is money certain companies, such as cable TV operators, pay to cities for the privilege of operating in the city.

If he's chosen to head the Office of Management and the Budget, he would continue to be the city's internal auditor. But, Mudd said, he would also work to improve Pinellas Park's annual budget format to make it more easily understandable. He would also focus on "productivity" and "quality initiatives."

It's unclear how Mudd means the new department to focus on productivity. But when he refers to "quality initiatives," the city manager is referring to a business management philosophy sometimes referred to as "total quality management."

The idea, developed by the late W. Edwards Deming, is to define goals based on customer demands and then eliminate efforts that do nothing to achieve the goals. The results are constantly analyzed for improvement.

Quality has so caught Mudd's imagination that he's developed a vision statment for the city and plans to have Pinellas Park compete for the Governor's Sterling Award for Quality, which recognizes organizational excellence in the public and private sectors.

The Pinellas County school system won the award a few years ago. Azalea Elementary in St. Petersburg earned it this year.

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